Developing Design Principles for Game-related Design Thinking Activities

Thorkild Hanghøj, Charlotte Krog Skott, Birgitte Lund Nielsen, Stine Ejsing-Duun

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The aim of this paper is to identify emerging design principles when developing, piloting and implementing game-related Design Thinking activities for primary and lower secondary classrooms. The analyses are based on data from the large-scale intervention project GBL21 (Game-Based Learning in the 21st Century), which explores and measures how 1600 students working with game-related design activities in the subjects Danish, mathematics and science are able to develop design competencies such as being able to construct and communicate design solutions. In the paper, we focus on qualitative data from a pilot study on how two teachers adopt and enact one teaching unit in mathematics in grade 7. The challenge for the students is to design and construct a tangram game using the visual block-programming language Scratch with a set of agreed constraints (e.g. constructing pieces of a particular form). In our analysis, we identify design principles that support the enactment of the unit as exemplified by the two teachers. For our purpose, their teaching is interesting because they use quite different strategies when adopting the unit. One finding is that the material objects and close attention to dialogue are vital when coupling Design Thinking, game-like activities with subject matter (e.g. mathematics).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationECGBL19 - Proceedings of the 13th European Conference on Game Based Learning
Number of pages9
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International
Publication date2019
ISBN (Electronic)9781912764389
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event13th European Conference on Games Based Learning: ECGBL 2019 - University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
Duration: 3 Oct 20194 Oct 2019


Conference13th European Conference on Games Based Learning
LocationUniversity of Southern Denmark

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